Osinachi Ohale. Mandatory credit: Hal Kaiser

Preview: Houston Dash at FC Kansas City

The Houston Dash and FC Kansas City meet for the second time in two weeks on Sunday; this time at Kansas City. The last time these two teams met it did not end well for the Dash in a match that Dash Coach Randy Waldrum called “a fiasco”.

The Dash finished that match with only 10 players following a red card for Osinachi Ohale, and lost by a score of 4-0. They now look to build upon a strong performance in mid-week action against Portland Thorns FC and seek to avenge their earlier loss.

Match Information

Date: May 18, 2014

Time: 5pm CST

Location: Durwood Stadium, Kansas City

Live Stream: YouTube

The Teams

FC Kansas City (3-4-1), 10 points, 5th place

The last time out against Houston, FC Kansas City had their best match of the season. Houston lost Osinachi Ohale to red card in that match, however Kansas City already looked the better team and had a 2-0 lead at that point.

Since the match in Houston, FCKC has had a brutal schedule. The match on Sunday will be their fourth in the last eleven days. During this stretch they have won one, a 2-1 home win over Washington Spirit, and lost two including a 3-2 loss at Seattle on Wednesday night.

Amy Rodriguez continues to lead the way for FCKC with six goals on the season now which puts her tied with Seattle’s Kim Little at the top of the scoring charts. Lauren Holiday has been dangerous with two goals and three assists. Erika Tymrak is evolving into a bit of a super sub with a goal off the bench against Houston and another one on Wednesday against Seattle.

The back line, which looked fairly solid against Houston, is still the weak point for this team. Through seven matches they have conceded thirteen goals, the worst goals against total in the league (although Boston’s twelve against in five matches looks worse on a per match average).

Kansas City’s defense has been exposed often by speed, especially on the flanks. The first time these two teams met, the Dash sought to exploit that by loading up with speed up top but struggled to get the ball out of the midfield.

If FC Kansas City can control possession and overwhelm the Dash in the midfield to win the ball as they did the first time these teams met, then they will likely get a result.

Houston Dash (1-5-0), 3 points, 9th place

The Dash are desperate for points. After two difficult matches in a row, the Dash finally looked strong against Portland Thorns FC in mid-week action. Only a poorly taken penalty by Kaylyn Kyle and a weak clearance by the Dash back line kept Houston from getting its first points at home and second result over all.

Coach Waldrum pointed out today that the Dash won all the statistical categories related to what they are trying to do as a team: possession, passing, creating opportunities. However, as has often been the case they simply have not been able to cash in on the chances they have generated.

A limited amount of time between matches is a challenge for an expansion team like the Dash. Particularly given injuries and roster movement. The players are still trying to get more familiar with each other and improve the overall play while having to prepare for opponents at the same time. As Waldrum stated today:

We will have to prepare against the opposition but we still have to get better at what we’re not good at right now. So that’s kind of the hard thing in training, is you go, you’ve got to prepare for them but also we’ve got to be better in some of the areas where we’re not good enough.

In order to win this match the Dash are going to have to find ways to get the ball to the forwards without turning the ball over in the midfield like they did in the first match. FC Kansas City will continue to clog the midfield with numbers as they did last time out, if the Dash are not significantly better than last time around they will struggle again.

Waldrum contemplated the task ahead earlier today:

Their ball movement, their circulation and flooding the midfield with numbers like they do, it creates a little bit of a problem for any team because it makes your backs question whether they go follow them in midfield or kind of let them have it in midfield and bring it to you. It’s a tough team to prepare for and one day to do it is not an easy thing.

Fixture congestion means fatigue becomes somewhat of an issue meaning it is likely that there will be changes to the lineup again as was the case against Portland.

Prediction

The mood among the Dash players remains positive and the intensity level at training on Friday was high. The team showed signs of gelling against Portland and it is continuing to get better. The Dash have been in most of the games they have played this season but have not gotten the luck. Eventually the ball has to start bouncing their way and this could be the night. The Dash will come away from Kansas City with a hard earned point, 1-1.

Injury Report

FC Kansas City: Kassey Kallman (out), Amy LePeilbet (out), Morgan Marlborough (out), Liz Bogus (probable), Erika Tymrak (probable), Melissa Henderson (probable)

Houston Dash: Lindsay Elston (out), Brittany Bock (out), Lauren Sesselmann (out), Bianca Henninger (quetionable), Erin McLeod (probable)

Possible Lineups

FC Kansas City: GK – Barnhart; Def – Williams, Sauerbrunn, Robinson, Phillips; Mid – Richmond, Mathias, Holliday, Buczowski; Fwd – Rodriguez, Henderson

Houston Dash: GK – McLeod; Def – Ochs, Diggs, Ohale, Romero; Mid – Kyle, Edwards, Jackson; Fwd – McCarty, Masar, Burger

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Tags: Houston Dash

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